April 2009


In This Edition

By Cassy Van Dyke, SPHR,
GMA SHRM President

A Quick Review on Alcohol and Drug Usage
By David R. Friedman, Friedman Law Firm

Inform, But Don't Alarm
By Adam Jensen, JD, CEBS, GMA, FLMI, Virchow Krause Employee Benefits, LLC

GMA SHRM Benefits Survey Now Available

Spectrum Magazine
Contributed by Dawn Crim, Member of the Madison Area Diversity Roundtable

SHRM PHR/SPHR Certification Prep Course, April 27-29, Chicago

Save the Date: 61st Annual SHRM Conference and Exposition - New Orleans

Interested in career possibilities for you or have an HR opening in your company?

- GMA SHRM Professional Scholarship

- Welcome New Members!

- In Transition

- What's Cool in HR

- Movin' Up

Click here to see the full GMA SHRM Event Calendar.

- GMA SHRM Toolbox - Bridging the Pay for Performance Gap - HRCI Pre-Approved for Credit

- GMA SHRM New Member Welcome and Orientation

- May 12, 2009 Human Capital Conference

Printable version


































Cassy Van Dyke , SPHR,
GMA SHRM President
2009 Corporate Partners

Boardman Law Firm
Galaxy Technologies
The Payroll Company

Hays Companies
Lee Hecht Harrison
Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation
Virchow Krause Employee Benefits

Melli Law, S.C.
Bunbury & Associates
Career Momentum
Stark Company Realtors
Gardner & White
Higgins Insurance Group
Liberty Mutual
The Alliance

Thank you!

GMA SHRM members,

Greetings GMA SHRM members,

Spring is here! With the new season comes a number of new offerings and announcements from the Chapter.

Registration is now open for our 2009 Human Capital Conference, taking place on May 12, 2009. We are all busy and “doing more with less” making it difficult to carve out the time for professional and personal development, but during these times it is even more critical to gain new ideas and hone our skills. There are a wide variety of speakers and topics to choose from, and in addition to the high-quality programming, the conference provides the opportunity to network with around 200 other HR professionals and business leaders. One fun way to get involved with the Chapter is to volunteer to assist with the 4 th Annual Human Capital Conference planning. Please contact Zach Penshorn if you are interested. There are also a limited number of sponsorship opportunities also available for this event.

GMA SHRM is offering a $1,000 professional scholarship to eligible members, which can be applied towards qualifying conference attendance, certification, certificate programs, or degrees. Apply today - the deadline for submission is April 30. More information can be found on the GMA SHRM website.

Want to learn more about your membership or how to get involved? Do you have a colleague who may be interested in membership? Are you a new member? Mark your calendars and invite a friend to our next Member Welcome and Orientation on April 29. This is a fantastic way to get involved and to network with other HR and business professionals.

Lastly, one of our strategic initiatives this year is to increase member engagement. We want to ensure that we are providing member benefits that meet your needs and engage you in the chapter. In addition to our many efforts in this area, we have added an online poll to the GMA SHRM website. If you have an idea for an upcoming poll question, please e-mail us.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback for me or anyone on the Board, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

To your continued success,

Cassy Van Dyke, SPHR
GMA SHRM President

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GMA SHRM Board of Directors

Cassy Van Dyke, SPHR

Kari Lauritsen, SPHR
President Elect

Anthony Dix, SPHR, MBA
Past President

John Komosa
Secretary Treasurer

Kris Schmitt
Director, Education & Development

Chris Berg Thacker, PHR
VP, Membership

Mike Leibundgut, SPHR
Director, Government Affairs

Zach Penshorn, PHR
VP, Programming

Dave Furlan
VP, Marketing & Communications


Melissa Wieland
Director Workforce Readiness & Diversity


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A Quick Review on Drug and Alcohol Usage
By David R. Friedman, Friedman Law Firm

The changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect on January 1, 2009, but any new rules implementing those changes have been put on hold for the time being.

The purpose of this comment is to quickly review drug and alcohol related topics as the law currently stands. We will have to wait to see if there will be any changes under ADA’s new rules.

Under Wisconsin law, alcoholism is a disability. However, coming to work drunk is not a protected activity. Even though Wisconsin law protects the use of alcohol during nonworking hours, its protection does not apply to the workplace if the off duty usage impairs the employee’s ability to adequately do the job related duties.

Wisconsin law does not afford protection to a person who is currently using illegal drugs. An employee who shows up to work under the influence of an illegal drug may be terminated if they cannot adequately perform the job related duties. An employer has to be careful not to terminate an employee who is legally using a controlled substance.

The ADA applies to employers who have 15 or more employees. Under that law, alcoholics are protected, but current users of illegal drugs are not. However, under the federal law, a person who has successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program and is no longer using illegal drugs, or who is erroneously regarded as engaging in the use of illegal drugs, is protected under the law.

Federal law allows alcohol and drug abusers to be held to the same job performance and behavior standards as any other employee.

David R. Friedman has been practicing law for 38 years representing and assisting employers in negotiating collective bargaining agreements, appearing before state and federal agencies on matters involving the National Labor Relations Act, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Act, Title VII, and Wisconsin’s Fair Employment Act. He has lectured to state and national audiences on employment law topics. Contact David via email or phone at 608-256-0155.

The opinions expressed or implied are those of the author and may not represent the official position of GMASHRM. This article is intended for general information purposes and highlights developments in the legal area. This article does not constitute legal advice. The reader should consult legal counsel to determine how this information applies to any specific situation.

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Inform, But Don't Alarm
By Adam Jensen, JD, CEBS, GBA, FLMI, Virchow Krause Employee Benefits, LLC

Situation : The recent turmoil in the financial markets has many of our employees concerned about their 401(k) plan investments, and it has the company concerned about possible fiduciary liability for the performance of the plan’s investment choices.

Question: What should we as a plan sponsor and fiduciary be doing in response to market uncertainties?

Answer: You may want to take two actions. Temporarily increase your routine investment monitoring, and to reassure employees, keep them reasonably up to date on their investments and what you are doing.

Discussion: Plan sponsors are not responsible for guaranteeing that retirement savings plan participants will always experience positive returns on their account investments. However, pension law (ERISA) and the U.S. Department of Labor do hold plan fiduciaries, including plan sponsors, responsible for the prudent selection of plan investment options.

So, even if you normally review your plan’s investment options at another time of the year, take a look at them now in terms of both the current economic situation and potential long-term performance.

You had reasons for choosing each investment your plan offers. Are those reasons still as solid as they were when you chose the investment? If not, you may want to put the investment on a watch list and more closely monitor it. Or you might consider replacing it. Adding new investments to give participants more choice is another possible action. Whether or not you make changes, document your review decisions and actions.

As for jittery plan participants, keep them informed without alarming them. Tell them what steps you are taking to look after their interests and share pertinent information you receive from investment providers. Stress your investment advisors’ professional expertise.

Reviewing basic investment principles with employees may help them feel more confident about their retirement investments. You might use printed materials, such as paycheck stuffers or newsletters, employee meetings, or educational seminars. Concepts to include in your review: retirement time horizons, diversification, asset allocation, and dollar-cost averaging.

Employees may also appreciate your reminding them of other resources available to them, such as online calculators and planning tools. Particularly with employees nearing retirement, encourage them to talk with a financial professional concerning their account investments and plans for retirement.

Adam P. Jensen is a Senior Compliance Officer with Virchow Krause Employee Benefits, LLC and has worked in the insurance and employee benefits industry since 1986. Adam specializes in providing regulatory compliance and plan design services for health and welfare plans and qualified retirement plans. He also advises executive clients on non-qualified deferred compensation issues. Contact Adam via email or phone at 608-240-2582.


GMA SHRM and its survey partner, enetrix, a division of Gallup are pleased to provide the 2008 Benefits Survey! This new online report compiles statistically meaningful benefit data from more than 50 different GMA SHRM membership organizations in the Dane County area. A special thank you goes out to all our participating employers for their invaluable input and assistance in compiling this data.

Expanded Statistics in an Easy to Read Format!

Our new survey report breaks down the data by employer size and type of industry in an easy to read format. Expanded statistics range from traditional survey topics such as premiums, health insurance plan design, and retirement benefits to wellness, cost containment features, and PTO programs. The 2008 Survey provides HR Professionals like you with the authoritative data to evaluate and tailor a total compensation package that recruits and retains top talent in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

To purchase this survey, just follow this link:

https://gmashrm.enetrix.com/psitep/!stmenu_template.main?complex_id_in=236464.242303..242303.cat and click on the Purchase option at the top of the page. Participating members receive a significant discount on the cost of this survey.

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Spectrum Magazine
Contributed by Dawn Crim, Member of the Madison Area Diversity Roundtable  

The Madison Area Diversity Roundtable launched in 2005 and consists of local area employers who are united in common interest to improve diversity and inclusion efforts within our organizations and community. The Roundtable provides a forum to share best practices in recruiting, retention, and diversity efforts for the betterment of our businesses and community overall. Since its inception, the Roundtable has participated in and developed different initiatives to show its commitment and support of efforts to increase and maintain diversity in the greater Madison area.

The concept of a recruitment/resource guide titled, "Spectrum,” was developed as a tangible way to educate all interested parties about the cultural diversity, professional opportunities, and the unique benefits that the greater Madison area has to offer. The Roundtable began working on Spectrum in the fall of 2007. In creating the magazine, their purpose was to educate, motivate, and inspire everyone to seek out the richness of Madison as well as identify opportunities for continued enhancement. Spectrum has been given out free-of-charge at diversity events to individuals who are interested. Various human resource offices use Spectrum to help tell the full story about the Madison Area. You are invited to click here to read and share Madison's full story.

SHRM PHR/SPHR Certification Prep Course, April 27-29, Chicago - Gain a comprehensive overview of the entire body of HR knowledge using the SHRM Learning System. You can be confident of your breadth of knowledge in preparation for the PHR or SPHR certification exam. For more information about this course, click here.


The SHRM 61st Annual SHRM Conference & Exposition will be held on June 28 – July 1, 2009, in New Orleans, at the Morial Convention Center. Tom Brokaw and Lee Woodruff have already been confirmed to be keynote speakers at this exciting and informative event! To learn more, visit: www.shrm.org/conferences/annual.

Wisconsin SHRM has reserved a block of rooms at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel. If you’d like to reserve one of these rooms, click here.

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Interested in career possibilities for you or have an HR opening in your company?

Visit the GMA SHRM website and click on “Job Board” under the Resources to learn about opportunities all over Wisconsin or to advertise your opportunity in Wisconsin, inviting other SHRM members to apply. Even the fees are reasonable:

$100 per job – if affiliated with a local Wisconsin SHRM Chapter 
$200 per job – if no chapter affiliation

For more information on the fees and how to have your opening posted, click here.


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GMA SHRM Professional Scholarship

Looking to expand your knowledge in the human resources profession but don’t have the funds? Look no further! The Greater Madison Area Society for Human Resource Management (GMA SHRM) has established a professional scholarship program encouraging continuing education in the human resources field.

The $1,000 non-renewable scholarship can be used towards attendance at a National/State SHRM conference, post-secondary degree in business or human resources-related discipline, support of certification or re-certification, or certificate programs in business or human resources-related disciplines.

All applications must be postmarked by April 30 to be considered. Applicants will be notified by May 8.

For additional information on the professional scholarship including eligibility and scholarship provisions, visit the GMA SHRM website. Questions regarding the scholarship program? Contact Kris Schmitt via email.


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Welcome New Members!

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in February of 2009!

Anne E. Butt

Office Manager

Rowland Reading Foundation

Julianne Carbin

Executive Director

Chrysalis, Inc.

Tom J. DeLaitsch

Managing Partner

Harms Insurance Group

Paul E. Dillenburg


Center for Organiztion Effectiveness

Jason B. Gault

HR Assistant

Full Compass

Lori A. Giese

Team Lead-HR Service Center

Alliant Energy

Benjamin D. Huber

Human Resource Generalist

Placon Corporation

Donna V. Hurd

Executive Director

Boardman Law Firm

Rachel Kleber

Executive Recruiter

MRI Sales Consultants of Madison

Ryan A. Lessner

Sr. HR Generalist

West Bend Mutual Insurance

Nickole M. Milhaupt

Organizational Development Coordinator

UW Credit Union

Kabura Mukasa

Compensation Analyst

QBE The Americas

Amy Scherer

HR Manager

St. Mary's Hospital

Luke Whitburn, CSP




In Transition

If you are a member who is in between jobs, or who is currently employed but seeking new positions or career paths, write us a brief description of your skill set, areas of expertise, what you’re looking for, etc. Send us an e-mail. We’ll publish your information in the next HR InTouch.

What’s Cool in HR in the Greater Madison Area?

What’s going on in HR in your workplace?

Have you…

  • completed a major project,
  • implemented something new,
  • managed a change,

Is there something…

  • your company/dept does really well,
  • interesting about your company culture
  • that makes your company an employer of choice

We want to hear about it! Share it with your HR colleagues in HR InTouch. Send us an e-mail


Movin' Up

Have you started with a new company? Has your organization recently promoted you to a new position? Or do you want to recognize a new person or promotion within your department? If so, we want to hear about it. Send us an e-mail, and we’ll publish your good news in the next HR InTouch!

HR InTouch Guidelines

Article Writing:

Do you have an interest in writing for the HR InTouch? We have an interest in learning more about your area of expertise!

Why should you volunteer? Top three reasons: 1) to share your knowledge and experiences to educate others; 2) to become more connected in the HR and Dane County communities; and 3) to contribute towards the advancement of GMA SHRM and the HR profession.

The first step is for you to choose a submission option: you can pre-submit an article to GMA SHRM at any time for us to use in any of the upcoming newsletters, you can sign up to write for a particular month, or we can put you on a list of people to contact in future months whenever we need articles.

Article length:

Because the HR InTouch is now in an online format, the size is flexible. The article should be engaging and hold readers’ attention. Include the core information in your article, and we will advise if it is too lengthy.


GMA SHRM is conscious not to allow solicitation through the articles, in an effort to protect the interests of our partners and members. The nature of the article should be educational (i.e., what are the business advantages of having a product like yours) or informational. Otherwise, if you truly are interested in advertising through the HR InTouch, you can work with our Marketing Committee. As a rule of thumb for article writing, if the submission relates to a for-profit event, or specifically markets your company (vs. your industry), it is an advertisement, and should be purchased. If it is a not-for-profit event that your company is hosting, or an announcement (i.e., a SHRM member recently joined your company), it is an acceptable addition to the HR InTouch content. If you have any questions related to the appropriateness of your submission, please contact us.

If you have questions, or to submit an article, contact GMA SHRM at chapteradmin@gmashrm.org .










Greater Madison Area SHRM, Inc.
2830 Agriculture Dr.
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 204-9814
fax: (608) 204-9818
Web: http://www.gmashrm.org/

© 2004; Greater Madison Area SHRM, Inc. All rights reserved.